U.S. President, Vice President, Candidate Tax Returns
Traditionally, presidents of the United States make their tax returns a matter of financial disclosure and public record. However, the practice of releasing returns as president or when running for office didn't become commonplace until the late 1960's. In the run-up to the 1968 presidential election, Republican candidate George Romney (the governor of Michigan at the time) released 12 years of his returns covering the period from 1955-1966. This set the precedent for future presidential candidates to release their tax returns. Almost every president since Richard Nixon has made their tax returns public; the only exceptions are Donald Trump and Gerald Ford.
The president has to pay their share in taxes like any other American citizen earning income. In 2021, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden ended up paying $148,687 in federal income taxes based on their total adjusted gross income of $610,702. This resulted in an effective tax rate of around 25% - see our tax rate calculator to find yours or see how this is calculated. This includes the presidential salary of $400,000 plus passive income for each of them, including retirement and pension income. The president, like other taxpayers, can earn taxable income, but can also reduce their taxes by receiving nontaxable income and increasing their tax deductions.
U.S. Presidents' Tax Returns
U.S. Presidents' Tax Returns
The tax returns of presidents and presidential candidates presented below are publicly available and of historical interest. Learn more about the Tax history of the United States and find historical tax return data since 1989 including projected returns.
See past and present presidential returns; their income from a variety of sources has been made public information. You can see how much Joe Biden made during this year, the election year, his years as vice president, as well as the amount of taxes he and First Lady Jill Biden paid on their joint returns each year. This can be compared to older presidents, like Roosevelt, to see the change in income over the years largely due to inflation.
Vice President Kamala Harris Tax Return for 2020. For tax policies please see President Biden above.
Donald Trump favors reducing taxes at all income tax levels. He also supports eliminating the estate tax (which he considers double taxation). As President, Trump signed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) into law. The TCJA made significant changes designed to simplify the individual income tax by eliminating the need for millions of households to itemize their deductions. He also signed into law the First Stimulus Bill as well as the Second Stimulus Bill.
Trump was the first Republican president since Gerald Ford to not release his tax returns during an election campaign or while in office. He said he would release them once his IRS audit
Obama supported higher taxes for the wealthy as a way to reduce the national deficit, while keeping taxes low for the middle and lower classes. In 2011, he signed a two-year extension of the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act, keeping taxes low for all tax brackets
Bush signed the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act in 2001. This reduced taxes by $1.3 trillion over ten years. The Act was extended in 2011.
Under Clinton, taxes were lowered for the middle class but they rose for the wealthy. This was enacted through several pieces of legislation that he signed into law, most notably the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.
The first Bush is known for his famous line “Read my lips: no new taxes." However, he didn't keep that promise and had to raise taxes during his presidency.
Under Reagan, a number of important tax reforms occurred. In 1981, he signed a law was at the time the largest tax cut in U.S. history. He also signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
Carter supported lowering taxes for the middle class. He was also in favor of eliminating tax shelters and loopholes.
President Ford's reductions in his 1977 budget allowed him further permanent tax cuts for the American people that resulted in $28 billion in permanent tax reductions.
Nixon signed the Tax Reform Act of 1969, which essentially eliminated taxes for those living in poverty and raised taxes on certain wealthy taxpayers by closing loopholes. However, he reduced the highest tax rates for the richest Americans from 70% to 50% during his presidency.
FDR's domestic policy is remembered for lasting contributions such as Social Security
. However, during his time in office he also signed several key tax reforms that raised taxes to fund the war effort (World War II) as well as new social programs. One of the reforms he signed into law was the Revenue Act of 1941, which raised the highest estate tax rate to 77%. This was the highest rate in United States history.
Pence favors cutting taxes for all individuals. As governor of Indiana
, he signed legislation to cut the income tax rate by 5% (from 3.4 to 3.23%). As a Member of the House of Representatives, he advocated for replacing the then current income tax code with what is known as a "FairTax" -- essentially a single consumption tax on all retail sales.
Cheney supported keeping taxes low and touted the benefits for businesses.
The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate favors increasing taxes for the wealthy while providing tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses.
The 2012 Republican presidential candidate favors lowering tax rates for individuals. As governor he proposed lowering the Massachusetts
state tax rate, but state and local tax rates actually increased.
The 2008 Republican presidential candidate supported lowering taxes and simplifying the tax code.
Vice Presidential Candidates
The 2016 Democratic vice presidential candidate favors increasing the tax rates of wealthy taxpayers. As governor of Virginia
, he cut state and local taxes to stimulate the economy. As Senator, he advocated for simplifying the tax code.
The 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate is best known for his budget plan that attempts to broaden the tax base and reduce tax rates across the board. His proposed plan was coupled with spending cuts aimed at reducing the national budget deficit.
The 2008 vice presidential candidate opposes increasing taxes for the wealthy and supports removing the estate tax
. While governor of Alaska
, she imposed new taxes on the oil industry, generating substantial revenue for her state.
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